January 27, 2020
Community News Latest News | Kobe Byrant | Bangor Metro | Trump Impeachment | Today's Paper

Grundstrom-Whitney releases ‘Bear, Coyote, Raven’

Community Author: Valerie Lawson
Post Date:
Updated:

ROBBINSTON — Resolute Bear Press announces the release of “Bear, Coyote, Raven,” a book of poems by Jason Grundstrom-Whitney which introduces us to numerous variations of this American trio. A bear can be a person, though most prefer to be bears. Did a coyote ever lead you to a story?  Have you ever lost yourself in the blue-black eye of a raven?  Three such creatures transition from people to animals and back, walking along a desert highway dressed in their finest three-piece suits: ribbon shirts, jeans, and moccasins, foraging a city alley for supper, or sharing stories under a starlit sky. Sometimes Bear gets his paw stuck in a back-street dumpster. Coyote shows people how to trick themselves. Raven travels to the far north and bring back another story.

“Bear, Coyote, and Raven” welcomes the reader into their shape shifting world, where themes of environmental degradation, violence, and technological troubles explore what we have lost and suggests the solution to connect with the web of being and those blessed in their own right. An old native epigram invites us to walk in the moccasins of others, to be in touch with the present, aware of the past, and to laugh at our missteps. The poet asks us to take the time to invest our energy and to explore this different way of being.

Jason Grundstrom-Whitney’s poetry has been featured recently in 3 Nations Anthology: Native, Canadian & New England Writers, the Lewiston Sun Journal and the Underground Writers Association’s Anthology of Maine Poets. He has read at the Belfast Maine Poetry Festival, Longfellow Days at the Brunswick Public Library, the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Quiet City Books in Lewiston, the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell and the Portland Public Library.

He is a lifelong activist working for a number of causes including Native American rights, sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, hospice and end of life care, homelessness, the environment and climate change, and bringing alternative medicine to allopathic medical thought.

A University of Southern Maine graduate and an LADC/LSW, Grundstrom-Whitney works as a substance abuse counselor/co-occurring specialist at Riverview Psychiatric Hospital in Augusta. Past positions have included hospice social worker, school student assistance counselor and Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Bagua, Xing Yi Quan, and meditation instructor.

Grundstrom-Whitney has studied with Thich Nhat Hanh, Joan Halifax, Ken Cohen, Shou-Yu Liang, Al Gardner, his Clan Mother Joan Dana, as well as his sister Brenda Lozada and numerous other Native Elders. He has been in recovery for 37 years and writes from his experiences hitchhiking around the U.S. for two and a half years learning from the many everyday masters across cultures he has met in his travels.  Grundstrom-Whitney is a husband, father, grandfather and a Bear Clan member of the Passamaquoddy tribe.

The book has received advance praise: “In his impressive first book “Bear, Coyote, Raven” Grundstrom-Whitney takes us deep into the mythic. These poems span many worlds from Deep Time to modern day powwows and move effortlessly between the sacred and irreverent, humor and awe, grief and resistance. This is storytelling at its best, poetry that sees so that we may see, songs that invite us into mystery, stories that heal,” Cheryl Savageau, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and author of “Mother/Land.

“From Baron Wormser, former Maine Poet Laureate, “Playful, imaginative, respectful, insightful, droll, emotional, shrewd—these poems cast a spell that brings the reader into the very web of (the) earthly and beyond. The characters are classic Native figures—Bear, Coyote, Raven—that in his able hands take on very distinct lives. There are poem-stories in this book to live by and treasure, the old wisdom made new—a beautiful and real achievement.”

“This book is a dance of life, and Whitney’s words humble us with their beauty, sensibility, and ancient truth,” Claire Hersom, author, “Drowning: A Poetic Memoir,” from Moon Pie Press. Dr. Deborah Rosch Eifert noted, “Nothing is more urgently needed while we stand on the precipice of climate disaster than the spirit called forth in “Bear, Coyote, Raven,” and from Jay Franzel, organizer of the Bookey Reading series at the Harlow Gallery, “clearly Jason (Grundstrom) Whitney has spent a lot of time at all kinds of lonely crossroads—and come back full of blues and compassion and knowing, remembering, ‘a time when we walked together/for a short while.’”

Resolute Bear Press published Off the Coast literary journal from 2008-2017. In 2018 they produced their first two books, The Martin Bormann Dog Care Book by Michael R. Brown and 3 Nations Anthology: Native, Canadian & New England Writers, edited by Valerie Lawson. 3 Nations Anthology won the Maine Literary Award for anthology and was selected by the Maine Humanities Council as one of the titles for their winter reading series in 2019. In 2020, the press will release Stories Our Grandmother’s Told Us, a bilingual collection of stories in Passamaquoddy and English edited by Wayne Newell and Robert Leavitt. For more information about the press contact Valerie Lawson, 207-454-8026 or valerie.lawson@maine.edu.